Sailors, Take Warning!

Especially Christian sailors on life's sea, sailing toward eternity

To whom it may concern: East of Hubbard, we have high hopes to see the sun.

But maybe we will see the Son instead…

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

(Matthew 16:1-4)

(About the title: Red sky at morning)

The Fog Below: Thoughts of Mortality

Ponderings from within an overwhelming sense of creeping sadness.

Early this morning, I sat in the kitchen, propped — elbow on table, chin in cupped hand. I stared, unfocused, out the window. Thinking. Remembering yesterday…

clouds in the sky, fog in the river bottom, clouds and fog in my head
I gazed out the window, thinking…

Late yesterday afternoon. Barely Wednesday in the week. Rocking news upon shocking news.

A friend in our congregation left this life. A friend to our congregation fell backward into a service pit, breaking his hip and fracturing his back. A third friend in our congregation learned of his brother’s terminal brain tumors. A fourth friend, just recently of our congregation, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Four cases! Far more than that many friends! All since early Monday morning!

An overwhelming sense of creeping sadness. Of deep ache.

And my wife and I struggling with our own health issues.

So now it was early this morning. I had just read the first 11 verses of Psalm 34. Here, read them… Read it all

Esther Boss: A New Creation

God exchanged her ruined body for something new.

Esther Boss in 2010I got word early this morning that she died during the night.

In the last few days, we prayed often for God’s best for her, deeply hoping that meant a miraculous healing of her long-running rheumatoid arthritis and just-discovered bone cancer.

Instead, God’s best for her meant exchanging her ruined body for something new.

That faith does not erase the pain of loss for her husband Marvin and the rest of her family.

Such reassuring Christian hope does not eliminate the emptiness they feel.

They. We.

But believe and hope we shall.

Meanwhile, in Heaven, such glory for Esther!

And such glory for the Redeemer-Lamb who won her back to Himself and kept her for Himself! Read it all

Resurrection Morning

Jesus lives and all is well!

Today Orpha Tice Smucker would have been 67 years old. Now she is eternally ageless.

Below this photo of her and James’ grave is a poem written by one of her granddaughters. I took this picture at 7:29 the morning after their April 9 burial.

James and Orpha Smucker's grave at 7:29 am on April 10, 2016

Resurrection Morning

They put Jesus to death on an ugly tree,
He endured the pain for you and me.
He loves us! His grace will be enough,
So in Him let us put all out trust.

The women, weeping, went to His grave,
To put spice on the One who is mighty to save,
But the cold, death stone was rolled away,
And an empty place where Jesus lay.

An angel told them, “He is not dead,
But He is risen as He said.”
The women rejoiced and ran to tell,
That Jesus lives and all is well!

Jesus is alive, today and forever,
His love for us no one can sever,
His blood can cleanse from every sin,
Just open your heart and let Him in.

–Kaitlynn Yoder, then 10

“James and Orpha, Come Home!”

Where we see an abrupt summons, God has seen a precious, long-scheduled event of glory.

At the vibrating buzz, I flipped open my cellphone…

James Smucker was killed

James Smucker was killed in an accident last night
and Orpha is in ICU. They were visiting Wisconsin.

I stared. Icy fingers squeezed my heart, bent my mind, twisted my emotions. How do you process a message like that? Rereading it carefully changed nothing.

My spirit reached out to the unerring Father, petitioning for His best for Orpha. He answered with exactly that. Read it all

Flowers for Friends Afar

A brief visit to an old gravestone

Flowers in memory of these friends:

some flowers I put on James and Joan's gravestone

Flowers for their children and grandchildren who mourn James’ abrupt departure for the Land where Joan dwells.

Flowers for Orpha too. Perhaps some day you also will see this picture. Your Creator alone knows. We trust Him to do what is best for you at this time. Read it all

For Aching Hearts in the Cold Night

My heart still aches, Father; night is not past;
But in the cold and in the void I hear Your voice at last:
Is there any way that you could trust My love,
My life in you, My promise from above,
That joy comes in the morning, that beauty comes from pain?
Can you hold on one moment longer? Is there any way?

Read it all

Above all, love God!
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